[ Home | Staff & Contacts | DIY & Tweaks | Listening tests | HiFi Playground | Music & Books ]

October 2002 Editorial

Blood, Sweat and ...(t)Ears :-)

Author: Lucio Cadeddu
Published: October, 2002

HiFi reviewing isn't an any task. It can become boring, tiring and tedious, depending on various factors.
First of all, we have our lives to live. This is obvious, I know, but HiFi reviewing isn't our job since we don't earn any money out of this. We have our regular full-time jobs, families and children to take care of and even our hobbies (yes, Virginia, there's Life after HiFi!).
Considering the algebraic sum of all these factors, it may happen that, from time to time, scheduled reviews take a long time before they get published on our site. I'm referring, for example, to my longly awaited digital cables shootout test and to the review of the Von Scweikert VR 4 Gen III loudspeakers, just to cite two well known examples of delayed reviews.
I do have very good excuses, besides the above cited factors: manufacturers who wanted to be included into the shootout test after the lineup was complete and a new version of the Gen III issued to replace my test sample.
So, before you ask, let me promise you these tests WILL be published as soon as possible. Dear manufacturers, I humbly beg your pardon for the excessive delay. I am definitely NOT happy to have my house filled up with cables and other HiFi gear waiting to be reviewed.

You may need to consider another factor that adds boredom and despair (quote from Manic Street Preachers' "Generation Terrorists" 471060-2 Columbia Records) to the whole process: equipment break-in. While we always ask for already broke-in test samples, manufacturers often send 100% new items. If this is bearable with electronics, which require limited break-in, it is a nuisance err.... a real pain in the neck with loudspeakers.
Playing test tones, frequency sweeps and other nasty rumours for days, waiting the drivers to be ready to play decently is definitely a no-no, when you don't live alone :-)
Of course, we can use Music instead but sometimes it is better to avoid listening to certain loudspeakers before the break-in period is finished. Somehow, it is hard to completely ERASE certain first-time feelings.
Some loudspeakers, especially those with small woofers, need a break-in period that is simply excessive. I'm talking of 100+ hours or so. Assuming you can make them play 5 hours a day, 7 days a week (a dream) you need 3 weeks to complete the whole process. Now consider what happens when you have several pairs of loudspeakers at the same time. A nightmare.
Also, please consider that it isn't just a matter of time. We don't use a stop-watch to count the elapsed time. So you always need to actually listen to the loudspeaker UNTIL its real sound pops up.
For example, I'm currently waiting for a pair of Diapason Prelude III to break-in decently while another pair of Polk Audio LSi7 has almost completed the process. This means you have to plug/unplug one pair or another, listen to for a while, then swap cables again and so on ad libitum. Now, since our main interest is Music, you can imagine how frustrating the whole procedure may become.
I'm not complaining, just putting things into the right erspective. What many audiophiles may consider a dream (having dozens of HiFi components to test) can become a nightmare in the long run. This partially explains why we seem to be lazy guys from time to time. Of course, we could do everything in a hurry, writing superficial reviews. Thanks God, this is not our Mission, definitely.

Finally, not always HiFi equipment is EASY ro review. There are many reasons for this: a component which sounds too different from usual may need extra time to be fully understood, another one can sound absolutely average (hence the need for extra investigations) and another one can sound so damn good that you need to make the best you can to find its drawbacks and faults. Moreover, generally, you need to pay attention to put your words (of praise or disgust :-)) in CLOSE relation with the price tag. This may require further investigations with similarly priced components.

So, while we apologize with you dear readers and kind (and patient) manufacturers for our natural delays, we hope you understand how much hard work is hidden behind each article we publish.

As a consequence, you can consider our pages as full of Blood, Sweat and....(t)Ears :-)

© Copyright 2002 Lucio Cadeddu - http://www.tnt-audio.com

[ Home | Staff & Contacts | DIY & Tweaks | Listening tests | HiFi Playground | Music & Books ]